Cardi B - "Invasion of Privacy" Album Review
Cardi B is infectious. She is unapologetic and droll. Her magnetic personality has been the key to the most unprecedented rise in Hip-Hop today. Cardi’s reputation for being upfront certainly stands out in an industry whose inhabitants can be adamant on privacy. Her rise interested fans and haters alike into her life but if this her invasion of privacy, Cardi ransacked her own house. While Cardi isn’t known for being very private – she made her name through reality TV and social media – she gives the listener a vivid look into her meteoric come-up.
“Best Life” details her rags to riches story where she goes over Twitter controversy, comments of her pre-fixed teeth, and living below means. Cardi’s flow is really catchy here and she conveys the feeling of pressure and inadequacy exceptionally well. Chance the Rapper does what he’s been doing since Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment’s Surf: spread positivity. It’s his calling card and he delivers here with a fetching hook and tremendous wordplay: “’Member my hands had ash like Pompeii/Now they hold cash, won’t peak like Dante”. Cardi and Chance deliver an anthem of optimism that hits its mark rather well.
The other side of the scale comes in Cardi’s brashness and charisma where she unloads on “Bickenhead” where she encourages to “Pop that pussy while you work, pop that pussy up at church/Pop that pussy on the pole, pop that pussy on the stove” with an incredibly captivating flow. The Project Pat sampled, southern-flavored head nodder that is straight to the point and catchy in every aspect.
The album does have a few bumps across the road as “Ring” features a mediocre Kehlani feature with a subject matter that will still intrigue listeners who have gone through the same hardships. “She Bad” wastes what could have been a more compelling YG feature but instead becomes a perfect strip club anthem. “Drip” sounds like any other Migos song, and “Money Bag” is reminiscent of Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” and Cardi’s own “Bodak Yellow” but her performance makes the song more than passable. “I Do” is very impressive with both Cardi and SZA delivering noteworthy performances, however, it doesn’t work as an album closer and ends it on an anti-climatic note.
The album’s highlight, “I Like It” flips Pete Rodriguez’s iconic 1967 hit and has “song of the Summer” written all over it. This track is a flavorful banger that is lifted by the contributions of Latin Trap star Bad Bunny and Reggaeton mainstay J Balvin who sound incredible here, making sure that there is no dull moment on a track that will play in radios and clubs for months to come.
This holds true for the entirety of Cardi’s debut record; every track sounds like a hit and it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see every song on the album chart. This strategy mostly works as the flows hold the listener’s attention, her voice is strong and unique, and while the bars are few, they do hit hard.
Cardi B maintains the brash assertiveness that made her famous but isn’t afraid to be vulnerable right afterward. It preserves the aura of authenticity that she has cultivated as the Rap everywoman, the symbol of hope that decrees that anyone can make it from anywhere, despite the murkiest of circumstances. The 25-year-old Bronx native went from being perceived as a basic hood rat to the new figurehead for the American Dream.
That in itself is incredible, but also something she never asked for. It will be interesting to see how Cardi evolves as fame and opportunity continue to storm around her. She’s already performed on Saturday Night Live and co-hosted The Tonight Show, something that has never been done in its illustrious sixty-three-year history. With a high profile pregnancy and marriage on the way, the invasions to her privacy will certainly be more prevalent and intrusive than ever before.
As for this project, it is balanced well, with its idea of making hit tracks for multiple audiences satisfactorily executed. With that said, Invasion of Privacy is still predictable and formulaic. Cardi B still manages to forge a strong debut that is enjoyable and very much mirrors her personality but in the end, is not as dynamic as she is.